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Re: Separate Boiler Purchase and Install

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Posted by HeatPro on September 08, 2004 at 18:21:14:

In Reply to: Re: Separate Boiler Purchase and Install posted by Dave on September 08, 2004 at 11:10:13:

: But this isn't really a good representation of the situation. They *would* be doing the entire job, aside from supplying the boiler (and making the extra profit from the sale). The contractor would do the zoning, plumbing, electrical, etc.

***Talk to the source where you are getting the boiler. If it is a distributor, they can recommend a contractor to be called in early on the sale that can REALLY do the work. You are putting yourself in an adversarial position between the factory, distributor and plumber. The factory will want the name of an experienced pro on the warrantee installation sheet and the warrantee is carried through the distributor. The distributor will be mildly insterested in maintaining a happy plumber, so will prefer NOT to be sonsidered as someone who goes around his own plumbing customers.

Of three "professional" contractors that gave me estimates, none did a proper heat loss calculation - they just looked at the output of the 25-yr old, inefficient existing boiler. This also does not account for changes in the house - the radiant system, new siding, new windows, etc.

***That is a way of the business; few plumbers take up college courses to supplement their manual interests. That is why I made an accurate and easy program for them to do estimates for an unbelievably affordable price. But then, many don't like the steep learning curve of typing and computers.

: Thus, I have no reason to think they know more than I do (Ph.D. in engineering) about the *technical* aspects of the system, although they certainly know more about the practical installation issues (including circulator sizing, assuming they'll bother to do that calculation, code requirements, etc.). My ACCA heat calculations told me I required no more than 85,000 BTUH output, while they all sized off the pre-exising (inefficient) boiler at 130,000 BTUH.

*** Hmmm, you must have a 3000 square foot house, as the square foot times 40 is the usual guess (for 1960 insulation standards. 1990 and later homes are about 25 btuh per sq ft.)

: In a perfect world, our neighborhood contractors would be honest, well-trained, up-to-date technicians - but the fact of the matter is that this is not the case. Many (not all) have no training in new high-efficiency systems or ACCA standards, and are primarily motivated by $$$$.

*** That is true. GAMA dropped the training of 1000 students a year in hydronics to replace the IBR schools with part-timers uncertified in teaching with the idea that engineers could stand before plumbers and lecture them for a day with the result of having interested only 100 students in the past ten years. Plumbers are more often not involved with ducted heating, so have less association with ACCA.

: Availability is also an issue - in the entire Cleveland area, I have found only two residential contractors that install the new Weil-McLain Ultra or HTP Munchkin boilers, one for each - this leaves me no options for competitive bids.

: Thus, purchasing a properly-sized boiler directly from a distributor seems like a smart move,

*** Doing so breaks the business relationship of a distributor with both the manufacturer and the installer. It is understood that suppliers will have a counter for the inexperienced for common DIY items, but a separate sales arrangement with professionals for bulk and continued contact. The supplier will object to manufacturer to retail. The plumber to supplier to retail.

as long as a given plumber is willing to charge an honest wage for the installation job. I assume your answers means, "no, they wouldn't like to do this.

*** Does your engineering training include an MBA, as business cost of operations, including tools, legal, trucks, office, communications, retirement, medical and other considerations are factored into the cost of running a business? $80 per hour plus $25 for a helper can be a fair wage, but not understandable by a salaried worker.

Either he charges $65 an hour so he appears as not charging too much and then makes a markup on the machinery, or he charges the true cost of operation divided by hours. A business can not continue in existence for much less then $85 per hour.

Remember that cost of labor and markup when going to pick up a gift at the jewelry store or paying for copier repairs.

: : ...As a given plumber did not plan the job, there is less interest in completing a job (non)designed by an amateur.

As you are not an amateur, by your declaration, approach the distributor as an engineer looking for a technician to install materials under your design and supervision. It might be adequate for warrantee consideration.

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